Here at Seaham Hall, our team is at the very heart of everything we do, and for this year’s International Leadership Week, we wanted to celebrate two members of our family that provide encouragement and support to everyone they work with. We sat down with our Executive Head Chef, Damian Broom, and Spa Manager, Amanda Hardy, to ask their advice on leadership and find out some of their proudest moments.
Amanda, what do you think makes a great leader?
In my experience, great leaders must have a fearless vision, strong emotional intelligence and bags of passion. Heartfelt leadership is what I consider to be greatness. There is an old phrase that ‘knowledge is power’, but an even greater power is shared knowledge. Recognising people’s abilities, opening up their toolbox and coaching them to deliver and succeed is a huge leadership win.
What have you learnt from your time as a leader, Damian?
I’ve definitely developed a lot more patience and compassion since taking on leadership positions. I come from an era of the trade when kitchen staff weren’t always treated fairly, but I’ve worked very hard over the years to change not only my own mentality and management style but that of all my chefs.
And when has the kitchen team made you truly proud?
Every time I hear one of my senior chefs giving a lesson on something my heart swells a little. It’s always a proud moment when you hear someone whose skills have developed while working with you putting their training into practice and sharing it with others.
It’s also great when the team pulls together without being asked. It shows your own ethos is being shared by the entire team and has been adopted as their own. I love to see junior members evolving into well-rounded chefs with the correct attitude.
Have you had any not-so-successful moments as a leader? If so, what did you learn from them?
In order to succeed, you must experience failure. We are all humans and mistakes happen. One of my funny fails was choosing the wrong initial colour for our new scheme in the spa, which, to my despair, did not turn out as I had hoped. But my team came into their own and what followed is a great spa space with a funny story to tell along the way!